Griffin's Tech Blog

Peter Griffin on the tech universe

Know when to fold 'em

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Of all the tech pundits' predictions for 2008 I read over the holidays, there was nothing about foldable, electronic screens becoming widely available this year.
But just a couple of weeks into the year we heard details of the Readius, a mobile phone being made by a Dutch company and with a large screen you can roll up around the phone.
There's a video on YouTube of a prototype of the Readius that was unveiled at the 3GSM show in Barcelona last February.
While the Readius isn't all that flash in the looks department, it's aiming for the growing niche market for ebook readers which Amazon has set out to dominate with its Kindle reader.
The pitch for the Readius is that it is much more versatile and convenient. It's a 115 gram 3G mobile phone with HSDPA mobile data connectivity.
It claims to have twice the screen real estate as the largest existing mobile phone screen - five inches diagonally across. When you fold the screen out you get a menu in greyscale that gives you access to e-books, RSS feeds, audio player and telephone.
There's a demo of the features on the website of Readius creator Polymer Vision.
The final release of the phone will be on show at this year's 3GSM show in Barcelona, which I'll be attending so will be able to get a better look at it.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the phone could be in the market by mid year and that Australia will feature early in the release schedule, which means it could well have a local launch this year.


E-paper is a very tricky technology and many companies, particularly in Japan, are working to get it right.
At HP labs in Palo Alto a couple of years ago I saw how the stuff is made - it's not a hugely complex process any more, but making delicate materials durable enough to withstand the pressure of being rolled and unrolled repeatedly is the major sticking point.
The Readius is only version one of this technology which if successful could change the way we access content on phones and ultra-portable computers.

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